Weingut Holger Koch

The Pinot Noirs are among the finest in Baden and in all of Germany. I have rarely tasted such delicate, silk and finessed, filigree-structured Pinot Noirs. This is a top producer for advanced wine lovers who don’t look for fruit aromas and charming roundness, but serious, firmly-structured wines that unfold their talents only in the persistent finish.”
——Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Holger Koch, once cellar master at Fritz Keller, has run his own small, eight-hectare property in Bickensohl/Kaiserstuhl (Baden) since 1999. The vines are all grown on the cooler hillsides of the Kaiserstuhl and based on diverse, low-yielding cuttings (for example from Alsace)—not on clones. His vineyard management is virtually organic, and profiles of the wine favor a refreshing and finessed, elegant style of Pinot. In fact, the style of their wines is pretty French: pure, precise and elegant, with reduced fruit aromas on nose and palate, but with intensity, persistence and freshness. The wines are bone dry, straight and mineral, well-concentrated and structured—either by a stable acidity or fine tannins. The drinkability of all of their wines is immense. The wines are not really full-bodied, round or creamy; instead, they are remarkably fresh, precise and focused.

Pinot Noir is and remains the backbone of the domain. In recent years, Holger Koch has significantly reduced the extraction process and focuses more on finesse than on fullness, "because suppleness comes naturally in the warm years.” There is no longer any remontage, and the pigéage is also only carried out during the main fermentation phase, which is hooked at below 30 degrees Celsius.

                                                Photo from website of Weingut Holger Koch

The lighter wines are grown on loess soils, while the more complex and structured wines are grown in volcanic soils. The age of the vines is 15 to 30 years for the Pinots and two to 12 years for Chardonnay. For Chardonnay, Holger prefers classic clones from Puligny—with low yields and high complexity, thanks to larger and smaller berries in one bunch. Holger Koch harvests the grapes rather early, but the grapes are always ripe if possible. The grapes are destemmed, but not crushed. After a three- to four-hour maceration, the grapes are pressed overnight. 

The must is clarified in cooling tanks for 12 hours before it is fermented naturally in 500- and 600-liter tonneaux. Holger prefers a fast fermentation. Everything should be dry by Christmas at the latest, otherwise he will be cranky. The malolactic fermentation usually runs off in winter. Until the bottling in the spring months, the wine is hardly moved and only little sulfurized. The assemblage of the individual lots, including a mash-fermented portion of 5% to 10%, takes place only shortly before bottling.

Holger Koch Wines

Holger Koch Pinot Noir Reserve 2017 

Level:Grand Cru, Selection from *** Halbuck Vineyard

20% whole cluster fermentation with punch downs by hand, Aged 15 months in barrel

The 2017 Pinot Noir Reserve shows a medium-intense ruby-garnet color and opens with a coolish and warm, beautifully transparent and elegant Pinot bouquet with dark red fruit, finely toasty aromas and a delicately earthy and peppery note. Silky yet intense, tight and very long on the palate, this is a concentrated yet fine, refreshing and very energetic Pinot with a silky texture and a long, firm and seriously expressive finish. This 2017 Reserve is a classic that is reaching its top form now. Salty and with fine grip on the stimulating aftertaste with its wild strawberry flavors. 13% alcohol. Tasted in June 2020.

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Holger Koch Pinot Noir *** 2018

Level:1er Cru Level+

20 years old vines, 20% whole cluster, aged 15 months in 300L barrels.

From the estate's best site, the Halbuck, a terraced vineyard with poor loess soils on volcanic rock; grapes ripen more slowly than in other vineyards on the estate. This has more density, the weave is tighter and the wine more backward, but it is not taut. Rather there is a relaxed effortlessness to the seductively ripe red fruit, smooth fine tannins and long fresh finish. Very special.

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Holger Koch Pinot Noir * 2018

Level:Village Level

20 years old vines, 100% destemmed, aged 15 months in 300L barrels.

The fruit is perfumed and bright, deliciously juicy and approachable, and there is a hint of stems in the background that gives structure, combining with the fine supple tannins lending a dark edge to the long, cherry-fruited finish.

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Holger Koch Pinot Noir Herrenstück 2018

Level:Regional level

A level up from the Kaiserstuhl wines are the Herrenstück terraces, whose wines amplify the texture of their lower elevation counterparts without sacrificing freshness.

The fruit is seductive, soft and red, with a hint of smoke, and there is ripe juicy acidity providing energy. The tannins, while quite present, are fine, and give the wine considerable length.

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Holger Koch Weisburgunder *** 2019

90% direct press, 10% skin contact, aged for 12 months in 500L casks

The warm stony soil of the Eichbuck gives a ripe, pure wine with a playful mineral note, delicate acidity and a gentle elegant presence all the way to the long fresh finish.

This Weißburgunder hails from a single parcel in the Scheibenhardt terrace of the Herrenstück. It is tense and nervy, with an electric edge. 

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Holger Koch Grauburgunder *** 2019

90% direct press, 10% skin contact, aged for 12 months in 500L casks

Grauburgunder hails from a single parcel in the Herrenstück terraces for maximum expression. It is full of pent-up energy and could age for years. Loess soils on the flattest land with the least exposure to wind at the lowest elevation

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Holger Koch Chardonnay *** 2019

This Chardonnay is an exquisite rendition of Chardonnay Herrenstück, with the best grapes selected from a single terraced parcel. Loess soils on the flattest land with the least exposure to wind at the lowest elevation.

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